Personal Connection: Why It Matters in Home Health Care

By reputation, New York is an impersonal place full of noise and hustle. Someone could live for years in the same building in the Bronx without having a conversation with a neighbor, and the same goes for Manhattan. Despite that reputation, the home health care agencies operating there — whether in Brooklyn, Queens, or anywhere else — take the time to make a personal connection with each client. It’s the kind of investment that’s not common these days, but it’s one that makes sense and is important.

It’s easy to say that personal connection is valuable between people, but not as easy to say why it matters to home care as a job. After all, there are plenty of important jobs that people do perfectly well with little personal connection to their clients. The truth is that home care is an occupation where developing a personal connection to each client not only makes interactions more pleasant, but allows the care worker to be more effective, as well.

Why New York Home Health Care Agencies Build Personal Connections 

A person’s home is firstly a place for themselves and their family, and sometimes for friends or guests. When your home is constantly being imposed upon by strangers, then it loses some of what makes it a home.

Unfortunately, some inconvenience is unavoidable in home health care. Staff will visit regularly, and the client will feel less like having visitors on some days than on others. Sometimes the client will be tired and won’t feel like engaging much. When the care worker has an established relationship with the client, it can help to make these necessary visits easier for everyone involved.

A Visit From a Distant Neighbor

When a home care provider is able to develop a companionable connection with their client, it can make each regular visit less like an intrusion and more like a friendly encounter. If the person entering the home is someone who already has a connection, then there is less social stress because there isn’t the obligation to make introductions, or to socialize more than the client feels inclined to.

Keeping up appearances and maintaining a certain level of dignity is also important to clients. However, it’s a reality of home care that the provider is going to see their client at times when the client is not at their best, or in situations where the client’s dignity feels compromised. It is less stressful in the long run to go through these situations with a staff member who has already been there before, rather than with a relative stranger.

Knowing How They Say It in Queens 

Large cities are a whirlpool of different ethnic, regional, and generational dialects coming together. People learn to get by and to get along, but a visitor will always stand out a little. Small misunderstandings and small frustrations don’t matter all that much if a conversation is about something inconsequential or if the people involved are only passing acquaintances, but conversations between a client and their home care provider can touch on important topics related to the client’s well-being.

It’s important that care providers get to know their clients well enough to understand the idiosyncrasies of how they communicate, the better to be as clear as possible when discussing subjects like the client’s health.

Sometimes Details Matter

People rarely articulate things as specifically as they believe they do. They may know what they’re trying to say, but two different people saying things like “not that many,” or “sometime later,” might mean very different things. A care worker who has experience with the way their client normally expresses opinions will have a smoother time getting the details right when they need to.

Sometimes Subtext Matters

Sometimes the way something is said is important, as well. Does “not really” mean no, or yes? Does “when you can” mean sometime later, or as soon as possible? The more time a care worker spends with a client the more practiced they get at understanding the way the client presents themselves.

Like Manhattan Traffic Patterns

Getting around in a city is about more than knowing the layout of the streets. It’s about becoming familiar with when to expect traffic to be heavy, or when to look for alternate routes, and it’s also about noticing if something unusual is going on.

Likewise, working with a home care client is about more than just knowing the schedule for the visits or the task list for a particular day. A home care worker needs to become familiar with the way that each client habitually gets about their day. Maybe one dresses quickly while another takes more time to go over outfits. Maybe one client lingers over breakfast while another expects it to be over quickly.

It May Be Nothing or It May Be Something

In the same way that a visitor to a city won’t know whether a traffic jam is unusual, or whether it is a daily occurrence, a care worker who doesn’t have a personal connection to their client can’t easily tell if a change in the client’s routine is the result of some dissatisfaction, or if it’s just part of the normal variation. It takes a level of developed familiarity to know when a change in a client’s routine is significant enough that it should be investigated.

Knowing How It’s Done in the Bronx 

Nobody likes having to explain something over and over. It’s not a problem that comes up as much in group care homes because the staff there have more routines and procedures that apply to the residents as a whole. The clients staying there are required to do more adapting on their part because they are part of a pre-established collective environment.

In home care, more responsibility is on the care worker to learn the way that a household operates. This includes learning how the client is used to having things done, but it also extends to just learning how some of the appliances work and where things are stored. It’s less tiresome for the client if the care workers that visit are already well known and don’t need the nickel tour each time.

That Brooklyn Independent-Mindedness 

Nobody is completely independent in modern society. When a client chooses to begin home care, they aren’t choosing to start becoming dependent on others. The objective of home care is to allow the client to retain more of their autonomy than they would be able to under other alternatives.

Part of how that independence is maintained is by helping the client keep as much personal control of their daily affairs and environment as possible. That means a kind of individual tailoring of service to each client that is only possible with a personal connection that lets the care worker know how best to help a client satisfy their wants, while still meeting their increased needs.

It comes down to the home care worker’s ability to find ways to enable their client within that client’s own home. A one-size-fits all approach runs counter to that objective by forcing the client to change the way they live more than they already need to, and makes their home less their own space. The more personalized the interactions can be with each client the more empowering, efficient, and enjoyable they become.

Assisted care means something a bit different to everyone. It is also something that needs to evolve as a client’s circumstances change over time. Come see us at Parent Care Home Care to find out about the range of services and plans that we have available to assist you and your loved ones.

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